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Salmon pulse through again

Continued sockeye rush prompts increased bag limits, dipnet hours

Posted: July 26, 2012 - 9:17am  |  Updated: July 26, 2012 - 9:29am
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Dipnet fishers crowd the south bank of the Kenai River at its mouth with Cook Inlet last weekend.
  M. Scott Moon
M. Scott Moon
Dipnet fishers crowd the south bank of the Kenai River at its mouth with Cook Inlet last weekend.

The Kenai River continues to fill with sockeye, anglers and dipnetters as bag limits and fishable hours have increased.

A second push of sockeye came through the river on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with 97,914, 110,898 and 88,255 fish being counting respectively. Through July 23, a total of 894,547 sockeye had been counted.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials gave the thumbs up for anglers to keep six sockeye per day with 12 in possession effective on July 21. However, in the Kenai River above Skilak Lake and in the fly fishing only areas, the bag limit remains three per day, three in possession.

“If you want to take advantage of the increased bag limit, you have to do it in the lower Kenai River downstream of Skilak Lake,” said Jason Pawluk, fish and game assistant area management biologist. 

Sockeye are spread out throughout the Kenai River, Pawluk added.

“Right now sockeye fishing with rod and reel is good pretty much anywhere you can find the fishing moving up,” he said.

Fish and Game managers also opened the Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery to 24 hours per day through the end of the fishery on July 31.

“It was good over the weekend, but we just got a report from the (Alaska State) Troopers saying it slowed down significantly this morning,” Pawluk said Tuesday.

Good fishing should sustain for the next several days, but the bad news is the bulk of the main sockeye run is likely over.

Pawluk said offshore testing indicators recently dropped “significantly.”

“We might see good fishing for a few more days but then it might kind of drop off,” he said.

So far there haven’t been any reports of pink or coho salmon showing up in the river. Anglers can expect a pink run in the second week of August and there are typically two pulses of silvers — in August and late September, Pawluk said.

Trout fishing improves

Rainbow trout fishing action continues to heat up with the increased amount of food washing through the Kenai River system.

“Trout is picking up,” said Mike Harpe, manager and guide of Kenai River Fly Fishing. “It is starting to get there. We’ve got a lot of sockeye getting caught in the upper river so you get a lot of that flesh rolling down and that really helps.”

Harpe recommended fishing a flesh and egg combination pattern — “back to the basics,” he said. If you are fishing from shore, Harpe suggested trying the Kenai River sanctuary area.

“Wherever those fish are getting cut and cleaned that’s where you are going to find those trout,” he said. “That’s what they are keying in on. They are isolated in, I call them the carcass dens. They are laying in those pockets where a lot of carcasses roll in. The bottom of the eddies.”

The majority of the upper river is performing well, he added.

“It has been pretty quiet, the crowds,” he said. “I’m surprised how quiet it has been with how many fish that have been pumping through here. A lot of that has to do with the dipnet frenzy that just went on this weekend, which will probably go on this upcoming weekend, too.”

Pawluk reminded anglers that king salmon fishing in the Kenai River is prohibited and dipnetters are not allowed to keep kings.

There are no negative tides this weekend to benefit clam diggers, but there will be negative tides of -1.1 feet on Monday at 7:57 a.m. and -2.4 feet on Tuesday at 8:49 a.m. in the Deep Creek district. 

New Homer halibut derby leader

Carol Allis of Phoenix caught a 300-pound halibut on Wednesday aboard the Daze Off with Capt. Willie Beachy of Reel Fun Charters to become the new leader in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. However, hours before that fish came in, Pam Hanshaw of Homer weighed in two halibut she caught — a 230.2-pounder and a 225-pounder — to be the leader, but only briefly.

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julie 07/27/12 - 08:30 am
End Salmon Bycatch Petition

If you are concerned about the king run, bycatch, closures, the pollock trawlers STILL FISHING and KILLING KINGS & HALIBUT sign & forward this petition to all your friends

kenai123 07/30/12 - 05:26 am
King Salmon by-catch should cost the abuser BIG!

Many Alaskan's are wondering what can or should be done to resolve the decline in king salmon within the Cook Inlet area. If you ask the Alaska Department of Fish & Game they will point to a snowstorm of data and grafts, which in the end leaves the viewer even more confused about our commercial by-catch problems. I have been reviewing our king loss data since 2002 and have come to a single conclusion. That conclusion is that many things may need to change within our commercial fisheries but key within those changes is that statewide we must stop all commercial fisheries from profiting "in any way" when they kill non-targeted specie as by-catch. This means that commercial fisheries should be legally required to retain and process ALL BY-CATCH and then DONATE it to a charity. That means that if you "by-catch kill" a beluga whale calf; you are forced to retain, process and donate it. If you by-catch kill a king salmon: you must retain, process and donate it. By charity I mean some kind of Food Bank. This would prevent commercial fisheries from donating by-catch to their favorite "commercial fisheries non-profit".
This change alone, over time would eventually resolve most of Alaska's current by-catch problems. With this change commercial fisheries would eventually be forced to at least begin thinking about avoiding non-targeted by-catch. The king salmon by-catch issue is 100% about money; if you can make by-catch non-profitable, commercial fisheries will eventually find a way to prevent the financial drain. If we leave things the way they are we will be permanently losing many marine specie and fisheries in the very near future.
As long as commercial fisheries are allowed to profit "in any way" from by-catch, the by-catch issue will never go away and therefore all our Alaskan natural resources
and fisheries will go on suffering FOREVER. The Alaskan public must organize on this commercial fisheries by-catch issue and tightly focus on this single goal.
That goal must be to " REMOVE ALL THE PROFIT" from all commercial fisheries by-catch. The new reality in our fisheries future must be that commercial by-catch is going to cost you BIG. It really does not matter if it is a large fine or the charity donation, the Alaskan [filtered word] needs to organize and do whatever it takes to begin the process of eventually holding commercial fisheries accountable for the marine destruction it is causing within our ocean. The wholesale slaughter of non-targeted species is no longer just acceptable losses. This mean that the Alaskan public must rise up and compel the Alaska Board of Fish and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to take action and make SUBSTANTIAL changes in the way ALL by-catch is processed by ALL of our commercial fisheries. This is a very reasonable goal for the Alaskan public to pursue in resolving this very unreasonable waste of our common Alaskan natural resource heritage.

If you are concerned about the king run, bycatch, closures, the pollock trawlers STILL FISHING and KILLING KINGS & HALIBUT sign & forward this petition to all your friends

julie 07/30/12 - 07:48 am
End Salmon Bycatch Petitionn

I agree with you Kenai123, BUT giving the salmon away won't solve the problem of too many salmon being killed instead of being allowed to enter their rivers and spawn. The numbers of fish each river is missing in escapement adds up to the numbers being reported by bycatch. Then there is the FACT that the trawlers are LYING about their numbers. There needs to be an unbiased watcher on each of their boats just to keep them honest. But speeking honestly, there really shouldn't be any bycatch. The whole concept is sick, immoral, and just plane wrong to kill fish and dump them overboard or kill them and give them away. They need to be able to spawn. People need to have their right (by our constitution) to catch fish. The watcher could be another native from the villages that are stuck in the CDQ programs. The CDQ executives by the way get $800,000 income while the natives are at poverty level and being jailed for trying to get fish.We need to stop fighting amongst ourselves, and ban together against the trawlers! Thank you for posting the petition site! If anyone is interested in facts & news about this go to:

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